Gottfried Locher is now Executive President of the CPCE

Focal points for the Community of Protestant Churches in Europe until 2018

Gottfried Locher has assumed the role of Executive President of the Community of Protestant Churches in Europe for the second half of the current period of office. Klára Tarr had done an extremely commendable job of caretaking affairs for the Presidium of the CPCE since the unexpected death of Bishop Emeritus Dr. Friedrich Weber in January 2015. Dr. Tarr is now focusing on spearheading preparations for the “Christian Gathering” that the Lutheran Church of Hungary will be hosting in Budapest in July 2016. 

Gottfried Locher is chairing a new work process entitled “Future” that commenced in January 2016, the aim being to set the CPCE on the right footing to meet the new challenges arising from the changing social, financial and legal circumstances throughout Europe.  

Locher will lead the CPCE in the run-up to the forthcoming 8th General Assembly in Basle, 2018, which he will also be co-hosting in his concurrent role as Council President of the Federation of Swiss Protestant Churches, together with the Basle City Reformed Church. “We want to design a people-oriented General Assembly with strong links to the local member churches and those of the region, where the three countries of Switzerland, Germany and France intersect,” Locher says. “The idea is to make the European church community visible to the locals, which is why the General Assembly has been timed to coincide with Switzerland’s Day of Thanks, Prayer and Repentance and will include meetings in the public realm.”    

The first substantial results of the work conducted during the current period of office – on the topics of church fellowship, “Plurality of Religions” and the ethical issues at the beginning of life surrounding reproductive medicine – are already set for presentation to the CPCE’s member churches for their evaluation during 2016. A policy paper on theological training and continuing education and the conclusions of a study process into the “Theology of the Diaspora” will follow. The outcome of all ongoing processes will be presented to the CPCE’s member churches for resolution at the General Assembly.

The CPCE is organising a number of international seminars during the second half of this period of office, including the 2nd Liturgy Consultation on “Holy Communion as the heart and focus of our church fellowship”, as Locher described it in Vienna, November 2016, and its largest independent event, the 3rd gathering of European synod members (Berne, 2017).

The CPCE will be launching its celebrations of the 500th anniversary of the Reformation with a celebratory service of worship and Council session in Wittenberg on 19 March 2017. “Our church community will be celebrating the anniversary of the Reformation in ways that involve and demonstrate its full confessional breadth. From 2017 on, we will be exploring the diverse effects of the Reformation on people’s lives throughout Europe,” says CPCE President Locher. “The Church knows no national boundaries. We foster pan-European networking.”

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